Vatican city is a pretty cool place. The smallest country in the world, with barely 100 acres of land, Vatican City is a must-visit on any trip to Rome.
But, every visitor should know that a trip to the Vatican means a strict set of rules to follow. And I mean strict – Vatican officials take these rules seriously and so should you.
Most importantly, when visiting the Vatican all bare shoulders must be covered up and legs must be clothed to the knee. No shorts. No tank tops. Period. It doesn’t matter if it 50 degrees or 100 – cover up! And this goes for ALL of Vatican City, not just St. Peter’s. As this rule apples (though less strictly) to most religious sites in Rome, a good work around is to carry a scarf or two with you in your bag. You can then just drape it over your shoulder or tie it around your waist to meet the dress code.
The Vatican is a top tourist site, so there will be lines. Long lines. Do everyone a favor and be a gracious visitor. Not cutting, complaining loudly, pushing, shoving…you get the idea.
Another rules that should be obvious, but surprisingly isn’t – don’t touch the items in the museum! I have seen tourists just cavalierly reach out and touch art and sculptures – it’s a museum people, not show and tell. Plus, you don’t want the Swiss Guards on your bad side – trust me!
Finally, be careful to follow rules about photography and videography. For example, you absolutely cannot take photos inside the Sistine Chapel. Just don’t even try it. And if at any time an official says to you “no photo!” just follow their instructions. There’s no need to get thrown out of Vatican City – although I imagine that would be a pretty cool story!